El Tapatio

Posted on May 30th, 2013 in Restaurants by Matthew

For lunch today in our last week of May Term, we went to El Tapatio. This was the first full-fledged Mexican place that we went to. It was one of the closer restaurants to campus, just down on Gordon Drive across from Hy-Vee.

I am a huge fan of Mexican restaurants and every time I go to a new one I have to try the chips and queso. They had chips and salsa already on our table when we got there so I made sure she brought us some queso as well. The waitress was very nice, but must not have understood me because I clearly ordered the large size of the queso but she only brought the small. Nevertheless, the queso turned out to be pretty good. It wasn’t as hot as I expected but it wasn’t cold either. This is usually how I base whether or not I choose to go back to Mexican places. Keeping a glass of water is also a big plus for Mexican places because the salsa can be spicy at places and that is a good way to piss off a customer. They did a good job of keeping our drinks full.

After a bit of a wait she came to get our order. I ordered the enchiladas rancheros. That consists of three cheese enchiladas with a side of rice and beans. This is the typical dish I order at Mexican places because enchiladas are one of my favorite foods. Instead of the rice I wanted to substitute fries and she said that was okay. I know that’s not very Mexican but I haven’t been to a Mexican restaurant in America that doesn’t serve fries.

We got our food here pretty fast. When mine came out it was steaming and was missing the fries. The waitress asked if everything looked all right and I had politely said that I was missing my fries and she would bring them out. After a little while had passed I still hadn’t gotten my fries and a classmate, Codey, had received a side of fries, so I was a little confused. I wasn’t terribly hungry because the enchiladas filled me up pretty well so I wasn’t tripping. She did finally bring them out towards the end of the meal, and I had her bring me a box so I could take them with me.


The presentation of my meal was pretty good. The enchiladas were coated in a dark red sauce, which is always a house specialty, which I enjoy. The beans also had a little bit of shredded cheese spread on them, which gave them a little extra taste.

This place was a pretty good Mexican joint. The owner was there and looked like he kept a pretty tight business. The service was good at best but nothing special. If I were to compare this to a chain Mexican restaurant I would compare it to Carlos O’Kelly’s. I have been to that place a lot of times and El Tapatio is pretty similar. I would definitely choose El Tapatio over Carlos O’Kelly’s not only because it is locally owned but the food quality was a lot better and the sauces were delicious.

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